"King George and Broadswords!" shouted loyalists as they charged across partially dismantled Moore's Creek bridge on February 27, 1776. Just beyond the bridge nearly a thousand North Carolina patriots waited quietly with cannons and muskets poised to fire.
The loyalists, mostly Scottish Highlanders wielding broadswords, expected to find only a small patriot force. As the loyalists advanced across the bridge, patriot shots rang out and dozens of loyalists fell, including their commanders.
Stunned, outgunned and leaderless, the loyalists surrendered, retreating in confusion. Wagons, weapons and British sterling worth more than $1 million by today's value were seized by the patriots in the days following the battle.
This dramatic victory ended British authority in the colony and greatly influenced North Carolina to be the first colony to vote for independence.